Trump’s revised travel ban is denounced by 134 US foreign policy experts
NEW YORK: A group of 134 US foreign policy experts have denounced President Trump’s revised travel ban in a letter to the president, The New York Times reported Sunday.
The new travel order, which is set to take effect on Wednesday, replaced a more sweeping ban issued on January 27 that caused chaos and protests at airports across the country.
But the letter signed by figures including former secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and John Kerry argues that the revised ban “suffers from the same core substantive defects as the previous version.”
In the letter sent to President Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defence James Mattis, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly and Michael Dempsey, the acting director of national intelligence, the former government officials argue that the new travel ban tells Muslims that the United States is an enemy of Islam.
“The revised executive order will jeopardize our relationship with allies and partners on whom we rely for vital counter-terrorism cooperation and information-sharing to Muslims – including those victimized by or fighting against ISIS – it will send a message that reinforces the propaganda of ISIS and other extremist groups, that falsely claim the United States is at war with Islam,” it states.
“Welcoming Muslim refugees and travelers, by contrast, exposes the lies of terrorists and counters their warped vision,” it adds.
The letter was signed by a slew of former Obama administration officials, including former national security adviser Susan Rice and former UN Ambassador Samantha Power.
It calls the revised order “damaging to the strategic and national security interests of the United States.”
Experts, who served in both Republican and Democratic administrations, signed the letter, including R. Nicholas Burns, former National Security Council member under Clinton and counter-terrorism coordinator under Bush, and John E McLaughlin, the deputy CIA director for Clinton and acting CIA director for Bush.
The first order, which temporarily halted the entry of refugees and travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries, was hit by more than two-dozen lawsuits. The administration issued a new order aimed at surviving legal challenges.
Among the changes, the new order drops Iraq from the list of seven countries affected by the travel ban, and it exempts those from the travel ban who hold valid visas.
The order continues to halt all refugee admissions for four months, while the previous order went further in suspending Syrian refugees indefinitely and allowed preference for some religious minorities.